Designing against the deer

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by Carol Ja, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    The latest addition to deerproofing this garden. How many plants do people lose to the local population of deer? The new owner of this fence has had the eat out of her hand, then she realised that they were eating the plants around the garden. Part of her design was to save an area for the deer to browse and an area for her plants and dogs.
    Carol Ja
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Are they sure this is high enough? Often you have to go pretty high to keep them out. I know another place where they have a less-than-regulation height "deer fence". Immediately inside it heavily browsed apple trees are visible.
     
  3. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    They're going to walk thru that open section!

    Seriously though, a fence they can't see thru can be lower and still be effective. I don't know if slats meet the "can't see thru" standard, but I suspect these would.

    We are installing a deer "exclusion" fence system (actually 2 fences) that consists of a full 8 foot high mesh fence (high tensile 20/96-6: 20 horizontal wires, 96" high, 6" spacing on the verticals) and a 38" high electric "guard" fence 4 feet outside the main fence. The main fence also has 3 electric wires at 6", 12" (for racoons) and 38" on stand-off insulators 9" outside the wire mesh. (15,000 volts)

    In case you were wondering: just over $12,000 for just under 1800 feet, with 2 12' gates.

    Ralph
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Where I have been around the high mesh the electric would not be necessary for deer alone, the high mesh apparently being adequate.
     
  5. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Ralph Walton, you might as well dig a moat, for effect. You seem to have built quite a compound. Laset gun turrets would be cool, too.

    As for the original post, I have heard deer are lazy and would just as soon not jump over your fence as walk over to the neighbor's smorgasboard. I bet this has a good effect on the garden. Is it a 6-footer?

    One of the positives of our move from an acre lot to a city lot on a busier street was the lessening of the maurading deer. We get the occassional drunk teenager tossing cans into the yard, though, and I fear I am becoming Dennis the Menace's Mr. Wilson, for the things I think about when picking the cans out of the gardens.
     
  6. Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Carol,
    I've been fighting the Bambi Wars for a while. How much plant material do people lose to deer? Depends on the day, the deer and the "dumb factor". I lost $400 (wholesale) in plant material the first couple of nights after we moved onto our current property in Metchosin 6 years ago.(It still bugs me) Dumb me for leaving dozens of things lying around.....I felt very dumb.but since then I've heard of bucks standing on their hind hoofs eating a petunia basket hung 7 ft up a post situated on a veranda with 6 steps up to it... hey - I'da thought that would have been safe! I actually had a deer in the backyard, and the trouble was after he wiggled in and was caught, he panicked and coundn't get out without nearly trashing the fence, the plants and the flower beds. That was fun too.
    I keep as many grey, fuzzy or pungent plants around as possible along with some tried and true shrubs. Between choysia, phorimum, eucalyptus, buddlia, digitalis,draceanas cotoneaster and a host of rhodos, there's lots we can put in our gardens for landscaping. But a fence is a good thing. Although I've seen a deer stand right beside my 5 foot wire pasture fence and without taking ONE step. spring right up and clear it. Stunt guy stuff.... it boggles the mind.
    Saltspring has deer, although I guess not as bad as Pender Island, where the deer are fully aware they own the place.
    Deer aren't dumb, and we have to be one fence and one step ahead. C'est la Bambi guerre!
     
  7. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    Holy replies!
    Well,
    1, Ralph, the gate wasn't on yet hence the obvious hole, (I get the joke though Ha Ha)
    also your fence discription sounds a bit like fort knox! Good luck, I hope it works.
    2, Ron,the fence is a lot taller than the picture shows. The deer can jump, but not this high. Besides they are so fat in this area from being fed.
    3, the owner has two really big dogs that run the other side of the fence. (part of the reason for the fence in the first place.
    4, Anne, I'm glad I live on Saltspring, not Pender as I have heard the same. but people in the area of this fence hand feed the deer. (Must be tourists!).

    I once caught a deer walking up onto my deck via the stairs which was about 10 ft up. The dogs (who are rather big) were fast asleep up there and didn't even notice.

    Carol Ja
     
  8. Skidmark

    Skidmark Member

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    The Nanoose Bay deer eat just about anything! I put a 6' deer wire fence up last year after my Boogle Fence finally had too many holes in it. (Ever read "How I Built the Boogle House"?) The monsters got down on their knees and went under the side of my arbour that was about 18" tops and continued to munch. Of course, now there is wire on the inside of the arbour as well...
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    >Ron,the fence is a lot taller than the picture shows. The deer can jump, but not this high.<

    See post just before, where deer clearing a 6' fence from a standing position is described. How tall is "this high"? I know a place where the fence that worked is at least 7' high. Across the street they have shorter "deer" fencing, with heavily browsed apple trees visible inside the fenced area.
     
  10. Articulady

    Articulady Member

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    We have lots of deer issues here, too. The deer around here are smaller than the PNW deer, but there are more of them, and they have less natural habitat left so they browse our (their) lovely rural neighborhood where they are protected.

    Fences are not allowed here... so the best solutions are: plant things that the deer won't eat (which is a very limited list since they are so hungry) and applied controls which rarely work. The old soap-on-a-stick routine, (doesn't work here); motion sensor lights (doesn't phase them, it just helps them see what they're eating), dog out in the yard all night (not allowed); some kind of theoretically harmless spray that is supposed to scare them off (I've not heard of this having any success on the local deers' appetite). I haven't tried spiced-sprays as we like to browse the garden as well. Frankly I haven't heard anyone in my area mention anything that actually works.

    A few days ago some lady walking by commented that I must have some kind of magical force field around my yard since the deer haven't eaten my hostas or lilies. I just smiled, having already guessed that my 3 year-old boy who does not like to go back in the house for anything once we are outside has had a lot to do with discouraging the deer.
     
  11. greendude

    greendude Member

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    While on the computer and posting here, I can hear the deer munching outside my window, luckily they are not in my garden. There is a very inexpensive and natural way to keep deer out of your garden, but it is not all that well known in Canada. It is called the Scarecrow, and I have a complete write up and video on my website. It is a sprinkler with an infrared sensor that works both night and day. When activated it sprays a 35' shot of water for 3 seconds and scares off most animals - including cats as they don't like to get wet. You can see a video of it in action here. It has even been recommended by The Ministry of Environment - BC Government.

    Although we have tons of deer, I don't have a prob in the garden with this product. I am not sure where they can be bought in Canada, I ordered mine from the states.
     

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